Despite the fact that the camera obscura (and its photographic descendants) are almost as old as art itself; and artists have been using it for almost that long to save themselves time and effort, and to improve accuracy, such tools are at best a semi-secret element in the artistic community. Everyone knows about them, but no one likes to talk about them, or worse, admit to their use. Someone referred to such techniques as a stigma and that's EXACTLY what it is. And OUTSIDE artistic circles it's even WORSE. And I'm not going to be one to argue that a painter should post a sign at his display, "All images transfered from photos to canvas using a projector."

But what I AM going to argue is that the correct and proper USE of photography AND projectors should be professionally TAUGHT. One of the problems artists have in using projectors is that NO ONE teaches their use. There are obvious reasons of course. It's a LOUSY way to LEARN to draw and an obvious crutch. I think on the part of educational institutions, there's a matter of self-interest as well. I mean, if all artists were TAUGHT the use of projectors fewer would want to spend the the hours and years in high school and college classes (for which they pay through the nose) learning the frustrating details of eye-hand coordination. I have sometimes been criticized for my referring to painting as an "antique" artform. If that is so, then traditional, right-brained, life drawing (of models, still-life, landscapes, whatever) would be even MORE antique, what with the availability and modern convenience of projected photography. Artists and critics often rail that photography and projection introduce all sorts of distortions and peculiarities into drawing and they're absolutely right. The point is, we teach our art students for YEARS to avoid even worse distortions in their drawing while never even hinting that we could also just as easily teach the PROPER use of photography/projection to avoid all unintended distortion in drawing.

Traditional drawing techniques are fun. There is a great deal of satisfaction in the use of one's eye, hand, and wits in producing images on paper. But then, writing is fun too, but few professional writers today would even THINK of parting with their word processors, spell-checkers, grammar checkers, and data bases in favor of longhand. And while there are still a few students who turn in hand-written essays or stories in writing classes, most instructors smile and say a couple "God Bless You's" when their students turn in word-processed papers. A drawing student even SUSPECTED of having traced or projected an assignment might get it wadded up and thrown back in his or her face. Can you imagine the uproar in a figure drawing class if an art student brought in a camera and start photographing the model?!